Alfred Morris isn’t buying into, well Alfred Morris. Not in the manner with which others view him now, after rushing for 200 yards in the biggest game of his life. And after setting a franchise single-season rushing record.
After the game, Redskins coach Mike Shanahan singled him out in the locker room. Morris, Shanahan told the team, separated himself in Washington’s 28-18 win over Dallas.
Just don’t try selling all this to Morris.
“I’m never a star,” he said. “I’ll never be a star. Other people might think I’m a star, but I’m just Alfred. I’ve been the same way since way back and I’m not going to change. I’m still going to be the same guy that walked in and nobody knew who I was. I’m still going to be that guy. I couldn’t change even if I tried.”
Others certainly will change how they view Morris, who now has the club record with 1,613 yards. He scored three touchdowns, including a 32-yarder in the fourth quarter in which he cut back to the right to a wide open lane.
The Redskins were intent on running the ball vs. Dallas and with the passing game failing (Robert Griffin III completed just nine of 18 passes for 100 yards), Morris was needed more than ever. Dallas also was intent on stopping the zone read passing game, which hurt it the first time around. Sunday night, the Cowboys used a lot of two-deep safety looks. When the Redskins faked the zone read, the safeties wouldn’t bite, but instead turned toward the receivers.
“When they got them playing like that, obviously they don’t respect the run and Al had the game he had,” Redskins receiver Joshua Morgan said.
That left run lanes for Morris. He gained 47 yards in the first quarter; had 92 at halftime and 108 in the second half. That’s consistency.
“In the first half we got it going and we were like in the second half we’re going to keep it going,” Morris said. “We were not going to let them slow us down.”
“The man’s a beast,” Redskins corner Richard Crawford said. “I always knew he could do it. Not a surprise to me at all… He runs hard, an old-fashioned running back. He’s a ’90 running back playing in 2012.”
Griffin has received the bulk of the attention, but in the locker room few are as respected as Morris. It’s his personality; it’s his running style.
“He makes runs that are blocked for three yards [into] seven yard gains,” Griffin said. “The line stepped up big for him and gave him some big holes to run through. He’s out there running over guys and continuing to move his legs, getting those hard yards. We always told him he’d get 200 if he broke a couple of long ones and he broke a couple of long ones tonight so that was great.”
Before the season Redskins fullback Darrel Young offered friends advice: pick Morris for their fantasy teams. Young has sung Morris’ praises all season; the song remains the same.
“I don’t know what to say about it,” Young said. “He’s Alfred. That’s what he’s been doing every week. The first guy ain’t bringing him down. Just making plays man. Tough runner, humble guy. You don’t see that too often.”